December 8, 2009 / 5:56 AM / 10 years ago

TIMELINE: China carmakers eye global brands

(Reuters) - General Motors GM.UL is talking to Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp (BAIC), China’s fifth-largest car maker, about a partial sale of assets associated with GM’s Saab, including tooling and technology, sources with direct knowledge of the discussions said.

The proposed tie-up is the latest in a series of contacts this year between Western carmakers and Chinese companies, as big brands seek to restructure to ride out the recession and as the Chinese look to raise their global profile.

Following is a TIMELINE tracing some of the proposed, failed or ongoing deals reported this year:

March 18 - BAIC said to want U.S. auto parts maker Delphi Corp’s DPHIQ.PK non-core assets.

June 3 - Little-known heavy machinery maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery unveils tentative deal to buy GM’s Hummer.

June 11 - BAIC interested in Ford’s (F.N) Volvo car unit.

July 6 - Italian automaker Fiat FIA.MI agrees to 50:50 joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group Co Ltd GAIGPA.UL to produce car engines in China.

July 23 - GM rejects BAIC bid for its Opel brand; keeps talking to rival bidders. BAIC, the Chinese partner of Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), was said to be the highest bidder in the Opel auction.

Aug 1 - BAIC will pay up to $117 million for 40 percent stake in Fujian Motor Industry Group’s 50:50 commercial vehicle venture with Daimler in southeast China.

Aug 30 - China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (0175.HK) is sole bidder for Ford’s Volvo unit, a Swedish business daily reports.

Sept 8 - SAIC Motor (600104.SS), a GM China partner, may take passive stake in Saab by teaming up with luxury sports car maker Koenigsegg.

Sept 9 - Geely says its parent wants to bid for Volvo, with privately-held Geely Holding Group seeking full ownership.

Sept 9 - BAIC agrees to take minority stake in Koenigsegg as part of the Swedish firm’s purchase of Saab.

Sept 15 - Cash-strapped South Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor (003620.KS) proposes capital writedown that would slash the stake of SAIC, its majority Chinese shareholder.

Sept 15 - Volvo Car CEO says Geely denied preparing a bid.

Sept 16 - Geely shares suspended pending $250 million bond and warrant issue. Geely says not related to Volvo. Geely announces on Sept 23 that Goldman Sachs will invest $334 million.

Sept 17 - Geely approaches Magna International about possible stake in Opel; Magna refrains for now from any such partnership.

Oct 9 - GM signs deal to sell Hummer to an investment partnership headed by China’s Tengzhong.

Oct 12 - Tengzhong seeks regulatory approval for Hummer buy, aims to close purchase by early 2010.

Oct 28 - Ford chooses Geely as preferred bidder for Volvo. No sale price disclosed, but media reports put it closer to $2 billion than the $6.5 billion Ford paid for Volvo in 1999.

Nov 30 - BAIC says may still be interested in buying Saab.

Dec 4 - GM and SAIC to set up 50:50 JV to make small cars and commercial vehicles in India. GM also to sell 1 percent stake in existing China JV with SAIC to its partner, giving SAIC control.

Dec 7 - GM in talks with BAIC about a partial sale of Saab assets, including tooling and technology.

Source: Reuters

Compiled by Gillian Murdoch; Editing by Ian Geoghegan

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